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Windham, NH 03087

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Stress Management for Kids Has More Perks than You May Think

Family Dentistry Methuen MA Children and stress are two things we don’t usually put together; at least not typically. More parents are gaining awareness about the prevalence of stress among young people, though. This awareness is allowing parents, caregivers, and even teachers and healthcare providers to better protect kids of all ages from the damaging effects of unmanaged stress.

Just like adults, children are affected by what goes on around them. When stressors go unchecked, internal tension accumulates. Like adults, who may experience chronic fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms of stress, children also tend to show signs that they are carrying too much emotional burden. The reaction that occurs to stress in a child or teen could lead to other concerns, including concerns about oral health.

Stress and Oral Health

Children may react to pressure in different ways than adults (and sometimes in the very same ways):

  • A typical stress response is to consume “comfort foods.” Usually, these are starchy or sugary foods and beverages that increase the risk of cavities and other dental problems.
  • When stress continues, the body’s chemistry changes. One of the functions affected by chemical changes is saliva production. Without the right composition, saliva cannot dilute acid and sugar well, putting the teeth and gums at risk.
  • Children (and adults) who are under excessive amounts of stress may absentmindedly chew or bite on hard objects. They may also begin to clench their jaw or grind their teeth. These habits could cause chips and fractures.

Looking for Signs

Children themselves are relatively limited when it comes to communicating their feelings and tension with words. As parents and caregivers, it is up to us to look for clues in behaviors. This is just as relevant to those who have teens in their life as it is to parents of young children. Stress in children may manifest in a variety of ways, from behavioral difficulties and emotional outbursts to frequent complaints of stomachaches, head pain, or other physical ailments.

How to Protect Children from the Effects of Stress

We cannot create a wall around the children we love that will keep them from all stressors. We wouldn’t be doing them any favors if we could. Stress can help us grow and develop the ability to cope with the fact that life can sometimes be hard. While children need to learn these lessons, they can do so under a protective umbrella that allows them to share their feelings in a healthy way, such as talking or writing in a journal. Children can be offered healthy food choices and encouragement to avoid turning to food as a way to cope with stress. Finally, oral health can be preserved when children are brought to a dental office that offers friendly, compassionate care.

We enjoy serving families in the Methuen and Windham areas. Call an office near you to schedule your visit.

How to Help the Man in Your Life Avoid Dental Disease

Family Dentistry Methuen MA The more we have become familiar with the body, the more we understand that men and women have unique needs and risks. For example, research suggests that men are more susceptible to health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. They may also experience more dental problems than women, though this is more so because men don’t seem to be as in touch with their oral health needs.

The men in our lives may need a little encouragement to keep them in the best possible health. Because we know that oral health and general health are intertwined, we can recognize specific ways to care for the body through the mouth. These include:

  • Committing to daily oral care. The American Academy of Periodontology and the American Dental Association have both released statistics that indicate men are less likely than women to brush twice a day. They also tend not to floss regularly. Committing to morning and nighttime brushing and flossing before bed is a challenge that offers enormous rewards.
  • Seeking preventive care. The common trend among men is to seek dental care when something hurts. It’s easy to forget about our teeth when we feel fine. However, the Academy of General Dentistry has reported that 34% of 30- to 54-year-old men develop periodontal disease (as opposed to 23% of women). Men need two checkups and cleanings each year and may even require additional cleanings if gum disease has developed. Staying in a routine of preventive care prevents a man from needing extensive treatment. It also decreases his risk of tooth loss.
  • Protecting his teeth. Many men engage in sports as a way to stay physically and socially active. Sports provide excellent health benefits for men of all ages, and also presents a bit of risk to teeth. Men who play sports such as baseball are encouraged to wear a mouth guard. The guards that are available today are far less bulky and intrusive than those available just a decade ago.

Many of the oral health problems that can cause pain and tooth loss can be prevented. With early detection and treatment, most conditions can be quickly repaired. With routine checkups and cleanings, we may be able to avoid the need for repair altogether.

We’re here to help you enjoy lifelong oral health. Call our Methuen or Windham office for personal dental care.

Teens and Teeth: A Risk You Need to Know

dental services Methuen MAWhen it comes to guidance with oral hygiene, the teenage years might be likened to a desert island. During early childhood, parents spend so much time teaching their children how to brush and floss that they trust their efforts will be fruitful in the long term. Often, teens need continual support to stay motivated to care for their teeth as well as is needed. In addition to possibly dropping the ball on brushing and flossing, teens face another risk to their long-term oral health. According to studies, the fast-paced lifestyle that most teens lead is putting them at risk of decay, gum disease, and poor bone health.

According to one report published in the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, teens are even at risk of enamel and tooth damage that cannot be reversed. The loss of enamel is referred to as erosion. Just like a hillside can erode due to strong winds and rain, the outer material that is intended to protect teeth erodes when we consume certain types of foods and beverages – the foods and drinks that are especially appetizing to teenagers. You know, those sugary sodas and high-carb French fries that are cornerstones to weekly meals!

Research has pointed to the danger of acidic ingredients such as those found in most carbonated beverages; things like carbonic acid, tartaric acid, citric and phosphoric acid. The breakdown of enamel around restorations like dental crowns, ceramic or composite fillings, and even dental sealants is attributed to acidity. Furthermore, studies have also linked the consumption of phosphoric acid to poor calcium absorption.

Calcium and Teens

There is a common misconception that calcium becomes more vital as we age (and primarily as women age). However, studies indicate that bone development is at its peak between the ages of 9 and 18 years-old. During this time in life, adolescents need 1300 mg of calcium a day. When acidity is inhibiting calcium absorption, the benefits of supplementation dwindle, creating unnecessary risk. For example, one body of research has confirmed a correlation between bone fractures in teenage girls and their consumption of soft drinks.

Because nearly 100 percent of the calcium in the body is stored in teeth and bones, and because the teen years are a crucial time for bone development, it is essential that teens consume calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, and milk. Leafy greens are also an excellent source of calcium. If necessary, a daily supplement may also be taken to offset the calcium depletion that coincides with the standard teenage diet.

We are interested in helping your family avoid unnecessary dental risks. To schedule care that counts, contact our Windham or Methuen office.

Do You Like the Idea of Minimally Invasive Dentistry? We Do, Too!

Laser DentistryJust a few decades ago, dentistry was not very good at presenting itself as minimally invasive. In fact, the very term “minimally invasive” has developed over the past few years as a direct result of innovative technology in medicine and dentistry. We are so pleased to work in our field in this day and age because advances in dental instruments, materials, and techniques help us provide the highest standard of care to our patients.

What makes dentistry “minimally invasive?”

There are a few key elements that make dentistry minimally invasive. These include:

  • A focus on disease prevention first, and restorative treatment, second.
  • A belief that natural tooth structure has more value than artificial restorations.
  • The commitment to preserve natural tooth structure as much as possible.
  • The use of conservative treatment techniques as often as possible.

Steps Toward Prevention

Most of the dental problems that require treatment are preventable. This is an important detail to know because it is the detail that empowers every person to avoid painful problems. How we prevent problems like cavities and gum disease is simple and straightforward:

  • Brush for two minutes, every morning and night.
  • Floss every night.
  • Obtain professional cleanings twice a year.
  • Obtain preventive treatments like topical fluoride or dental sealants as needed to remineralize and protect susceptible teeth.

Steps to Preservation

If restorative care is needed, the focus is placed on keeping organic tooth material as intact as possible. One example of how dentistry has become minimally invasive regarding restorations is the widespread use of composite fillings in place of amalgams. Amalgam fillings have historically been referred to as silver fillings. Because amalgam does not bond to enamel, this type of filling requires more extensive alteration of tooth structure. A “lip” needs to be made in the tooth to hold the cured amalgam is filling in place. The minimally invasive alternative is to bond composite filling material to the tooth.

Another example of minimally invasive dentistry is the use of laser devices to gently treat soft and hard tissues. For example, lasers are often used to remove damaged tooth material in preparation for a composite filling. Because laser light vaporizes tissue, there is no need for drilling and the resulting heat and vibration from the standard dental drill.

We are pleased to offer minimally invasive dental care to patients from Methuen, MA, and Windham, NH. Contact an office near you to schedule your visit.

Is there a Special Occasion in Your Future? These Dental Treatments Can Get You Ready!

Dental Services Windham NHSpringtime marks the advent of Wedding Season. Early in the summer months, there may also be graduation ceremonies and parties to celebrate the graduates. Even if your summer includes a nice, relaxing vacation or weekly backyard barbeques, you want to feel good about your appearance as you make these public appearances. Here, we want to suggest a few quick and simple dental treatments that can have you ready for any special occasion at a moment’s notice.

Radiate from the Inside Out

Your smile radiates your inner vibrancy and personality – except when your teeth are dull and stained. When a special occasion is on the horizon, one of the things that people want most is to have a smile that shines. Teeth whitening can make sure this happens, and the beauty of teeth whitening is that it doesn’t matter which technique you choose. Our patients have options for in-office treatment, home treatment with custom-fit trays, and also combination treatment that begins with an in-office treatment and moves on to a few weeks of home whitening to lift deep stains. Professional teeth whitening can revive your smile within as little as two hours, or up to a few weeks. Plan now, and you can have the radiant smile you want well before summer.

Put Your Best Smile Forward

Problems like chips, cracks, and gaps can be very mild, or they can be severe. The degree of severity of such issues dictates how the smile can be renewed. Preference for natural appeal and longevity also need to be considered. An example of minor dental treatment for a small chip in a front tooth is dental bonding. The benefit of bonding is that this technique takes very little time to produce the desired result. During an office visit, minor etching is performed, and a tooth-colored resin material is applied to the tooth. Light hardens the material, and the tooth is beautifully made over.

More extensive cosmetic damage and discoloration may be treated with porcelain veneers. Like bonding, veneers disguise the underlying damage. This cosmetic technique provides years of beauty in just two visits to the dental office, making porcelain veneers an excellent treatment option even when a special occasion is short.

The teams in our Windham, NH, and Methuen, MA offices provide friendly care that achieves optimal results. Schedule a visit with us now to show up in your best smile all summer long.

Is Tea the Coffee-Alternative for Better Health?

Family Dentistry Methuen MAFor the millions of coffee-lovers that are out there, we salute you. Anyone who has ever established a healthy coffee-drinking habit can attest to the dissatisfaction that coincides with trying to cut back. In recent years, we have heard a lot about the benefits of green tea, and yet the coffee drinker needs a better alternative if they’re serious about making a switch to a beverage with lower acidity and greater health benefits. Here, we want to point out what recent research is saying about high-quality teas, and how the coffee-lover might make some beneficial changes.

What High-Quality Tea can do for Your Oral Health

The magic ingredient in a high-quality tea like most green teas is catechin content. The catechins in tea have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that are beneficial to gum health. Black teas have been noted to prevent the buildup of plaque on teeth, and white tea varieties have been praised for being less likely to stain teeth. There are numerous varieties of teas, and that’s not even counting the many herbal teas that are popular today. Most of them, when compared to coffee, are less acidic. Because the mouth is already naturally acidic, routine consumption of beverages that are also acidic can spell trouble.

Tea Offers Multiple Benefits

Tea is a popular beverage because it can provide benefits like soothing a sore throat and soothing an upset tummy. A nice, steamy cup of tea with lemon and honey can also soothe the nerves after a long day. According to research, teas are also protective of the liver and brain because they fight oxidation. Studies also suggest that choosing tea over other beverages provides advantageous effects against high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, and even cancer.

Cutting down or cutting out a coffee can take time and patience. Many who have made the transition report that they began to notice they felt calmer within just a few days of putting their coffee on the shelf. For the die-hard coffee lover who is hesitant to give up the flavor they have come to love, Teecino or dandelion tea may be an ideal alternative. For many people, though, a switch to a rich, spicy, or even fruity herbal tea is much easier than they imagined.

Must you give up coffee to have a healthy mouth? No. We’re here to help you preserve your teeth and gums with personal dental care centered around your needs. For scheduling assistance, call our Windham or Methuen office today.

What your Bleeding Gums May be Telling You

Family Dentistry Methuen MA When you spend time taking care of your teeth, the last thing you want to see is bleeding gums. We have been told countless times that bleeding gums mean gum disease. The very idea of this leads many patients to ignore bleeding or to explain it away as having something stuck in their teeth or having mild irritation. The truth is, there are instances of bleeding gums that do not indicate you are in the throws of periodontal disease. Our objective in evaluating this problem is to understand why your gums may be bleeding so we can better manage your overall oral health.

Bleeding Gums Explained

Let’s go for the obvious first because it is the most common reason for bleeding gums: gingivitis. It is important that we differentiate between gingivitis and gum disease. The term gingivitis describes a condition of inflammation. The outermost layer of gum tissue is the gingiva. It is delicate and can become inflamed when the acidity of the mouth increases. Bleeding is the primary sign that your gums may be inflamed and an indication that you may need to floss more, brush your teeth better, use an antibacterial rinse, or see your dentist. You may need to do all of these things. A thorough dental exam at the first sign of bleeding is advantageous because it can prevent infection.

Plaque and tartar and acid are not the only reasons that gums may bleed. In fact, one study interestingly concluded that individuals who are deficient in vitamin C and/or vitamin K might be more prone to bleeding gums than those with healthy nutritional levels. If you’re taking good care of your teeth (that means brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist) and your gums bleed frequently, you might test this theory that vitamin C and K need a boost. This boost can come from a good multivitamin or from eating fresh citrus fruit and leafy greens several times a week. Just remember, a thorough dental exam and cleaning can go a long way in minimizing bleeding.

Finally, pregnant women and individuals who frequently take aspirin or other medication that thins the blood may also experience more frequent bleeding.

We care about your oral health. Contact our Methuen or Windham office for help with bleeding gums.

Gum Disease Risks to Discuss with your Dentist

Family Dentistry Methuen MADental care has expanded over time to observe and preserve more than our teeth. As we have learned over time, the gum tissue around teeth is vital to long-term oral health. The soft tissue around teeth is involved in our ability to chew and speak and, just like our teeth, this tissue can sustain damage. Fortunately, we have a good understanding of what may cause gum disease and also how to treat this multi-phase condition if it does rear its ugly head.

Gum disease presents in stages. We don’t jump from not having gum disease to having the most severe form. Initially, what occurs is inflammation in the superficial gingiva around teeth. We call this gingivitis, and we hope to treat this early infection right away. If gingivitis is not properly treated, the infection spreads to the periodontal tissue beneath the surface. We call this periodontitis, and we become more concerned about lasting damage when this condition arises. The final and most serious stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis, in which gum recession is noticeable, and teeth may feel loose.

Every stage of gum disease can be treated. However, once infection has reached periodontal tissue, we hope to manage oral health and prevent progression. There is no going back to not having gum disease at this point. For this reason, we strongly encourage patients to understand risk and to discuss questions and concerns with us during routine visits.

Risk factors worth discussion include:

  • General health. Gum disease is more prevalent among individuals with certain health conditions. This is because diseases like diabetes and others that affect immunity make it harder for the body to fight off infection anywhere, including the mouth.
  • Oral health is dependent on how we take care of our smile. The daily habits that are practiced can mitigate uncontrollable risk factors by inhibiting bacterial buildup known as plaque. Brushing and flossing are daily actions that shouldn’t be skipped. Experts also encourage us to avoid tobacco and chewing on hard objects.
  • We can’t go through life and not face stress from time to time. However, stress can have a negative impact on health and wellness if we don’t learn to manage it. Not only do stress chemicals diminish our immunity, but the presence of stress can also stand between us and our oral care habits.

Your Methuen and Windham dentist has ways to help you reduce your chances of developing gum disease. Contact an office near you for assistance.

How to Enjoy a Healthy Smile through Your Senior Years

Family Dentistry Methuen MA Aging is a natural process that has historically translated to degeneration or degradation. Through the ages, humans have simultaneously sought ways to minimize the impact of aging and also accepted the fact that some things naturally change with age. Just a century ago, one of those changes was that teeth would fail and the smile would become more and more spacious. Today, we realize that we don’t have to accept tooth loss or even poor oral health as a consequence of age. There are strategies that can be instilled at any time to preserve teeth and gums.

Why does this matter?

Seniors, in particular, are encouraged to pay close attention to their oral health and their daily oral care habits. In one study, researchers suggested that plaque and tartar become increasingly problematic after age 50. This isn’t even in the “senior” age category! Imagine what another 15 to 20 years can do!

Dental care is vital for all of us, and it needs to follow suit with our unique needs. Here’s why:

  • Disease in the mouth is linked to disease elsewhere, including the heart and lungs. Research data on oral bacteria and bacteria in the arteries of the heart is so strong that experts now view gum disease as a biomarker for cardiac disease and events like heart attack.
  • In the lungs, bacteria may settle long enough to cause infection and increase a person’s risk of pneumonia.
  • Adults with diabetes face a unique situation in which gum health becomes more difficult to manage due to unregulated blood sugar. At the same time, blood sugar is more unpredictable when gum disease exists.

Specific Strategies for Seniors

At every age, there are certain obstacles that need to be recognized. The roadblocks that affect seniors can be overcome with specific habits:

  • Brush! Seniors should brush their teeth every morning and every night. After nighttime brushing, it is necessary to floss. This can be made easier with a flossing tool or water irrigator.
  • Turn to modern devices. Toothbrushing can become a much easier and efficient practice when an electric or sonic toothbrush is used. These instruments move independently so do not require much effort from the user.
  • Take good care of dentures. It can be easy to forget that dentures need a good level of care, too. Yes, acrylic will not corrode. However, bacteria can accumulate on the denture, and that means a risk for gum disease and bad breath. Dentures should be cleaned daily and with appropriate technique. For instance, brushing dentures with abrasive toothpaste can cause scratches that you can’t see, but that can hold bacteria.

The team at Kalil Dental Associates wants to get to know your smile so we can help you protect it. Call our Windham or Methuen office for assistance.

Adults Benefit from Invisalign

Invisalign Methuen, MAIt used to be that braces were something for the young. There was a window of time during which it felt “acceptable” to be seen with a metallic smile. Boy, isn’t it nice that those days are gone? In our Methuen and Windham offices, we routinely meet with adults who express an interest in straightening their teeth, all thanks to Invisalign.

The discreet aligner method of straightening crooked teeth has been winning fans year after year, giving adults who missed their opportunity for a straight smile a second chance. This opportunity presents a number of benefits.

Virtually Invisible “Braces”

Invisalign is not the same thing as braces. There are no brackets adhered to your teeth and no wire running through them. This is exactly why most people love the aligner method. Adults, especially, want to maintain their natural, unobstructed smile aesthetic, even as they go through treatment to make things better. Having invisible aligners means having the freedom to make important presentations at work without inhibited confidence. It means being able to engage socially without feeling “like a kid.”

Correct Adult-Onset Misalignment

There are a few reasons why adults may want to correct misalignment. One is that they never did. Maybe they never really needed to, but teeth have shifted somewhat since their youth. Dental injuries, tooth grinding, even gum disease are all factors that could lead to shifting. These same factors could result in what is referred to as orthodontic relapse, a condition in which teeth were straightened with braces but have since moved out of alignment.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, every person who seeks Invisalign treatment is seeking one thing: they want to feel better about their smile. Yes, straightening teeth that are crowded or overlapping or too far apart also improves oral health. Really, though, it is the matter of appearance that provides immediate satisfaction.  When our smile looks good, we feel good. It’s that simple.

Would you like to feel better about your smile? Contact us to find out if Invisalign is a treatment that can help you address your concerns. We look forward to speaking with you.